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Tours & Cruises

September 28, 2003|Rosemary McClure | Times Staff Writer

Yellowstone doesn't hibernate in the winter

Park yourself this winter at Yellowstone National Park, where you can ski, snowshoe, ice skate -- and learn a little about the wilderness at the same time.

New five-day naturalist-led programs at the park combine an active itinerary with education, said Jim Williams of the Yellowstone Assn. Institute. The trips are available Saturdays through Wednesdays, Jan. 3 to March 3. "They're designed for people who are interested in getting out in the field and getting an authentic recreational experience," Williams said. "Our instructors have 10 to 20 years of experience at Yellowstone."

The Old Faithful Winter Adventure program begins at Mammoth Hot Springs, then moves to the Old Faithful area. There is one day of cross-country skiing, one day of snowshoeing, a snow-coach tour and hiking at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Rates start at $695 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $181).

Among other Lodging-and-Learning winter courses available from the nonprofit Yellowstone Assn. Institute:

* Yellowstone for Families, geared for children ages 8 to 12. Four-night programs begin Jan. 1 and 15 and Feb. 12. Rates start at $579 double occupancy. Cost per child is $419.

* Winter Wolf Discovery. The two-night programs run twice a week on Mondays or Wednesdays from Dec. 22 to March 5. Rates start at $255 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $56).

* Frosty Fun at Old Faithful. The two-night lodging package, available Jan. 1 to March 14, includes a snow-coach tour. Rates start at $220 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $115).

Cost: Rates include lodging at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Meals and activities are included with some programs. Round-trip airfare from LAX to Yellowstone is not included.

Contact: Xanterra Parks and Resorts; (307) 344-7311, www.yellowstoneassociation.org.

*

CUBA

The history

and culture

of an island

Swing to the Latin rhythms of Cuba on educational trips that focus on the Caribbean nation's art and history.

The trips, scheduled Oct. 24 to 31, Jan. 2 to 9, Feb. 6 to 13 and April 8 to 20, are sponsored by the Long Beach City College Foundation. They focus on culture, contemporary art, architecture and historic sites.

The U.S. government has tightened regulations on trips to Cuba, limiting tour operators' licenses. Many will expire later this year.

"All the people-to-people trips will be stopped," said tour leader Mary Drobney. "But accredited educational institutions like ours will be able to continue our trips." Drobney is a professor of art history at Long Beach City College.

The October and February trips are to Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos; the January trip is to Havana and Pinar del Rio; the April trip will go to eastern Cuba and Havana.

Cost: October and February trips are $2,899 per person, double occupancy; January's is $2,500; April's is $3,150. Single surcharge for all trips is $300. Included: round-trip airfare from LAX to Havana, accommodations, many meals, transportation, sightseeing and visa fees.

Contact: Ginny Baxter, Long Beach City College Foundation; (562) 938-4134.

*

NEW MEXICO

Women's

trip to see

native pueblos

Leave the tree trimming behind and celebrate Christmas in New Mexico on a seven-day trip for women.

The Dec. 22-28 tour will visit pueblos in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, San Ildefonso and Santa Clara. In Santa Clara, the group will take a pottery class.

Cost: $1,400 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $400), including accommodations, some meals, museum admissions, sightseeing and entertainment. Transportation to Albuquerque is not included.

Contact: Aventura Artistica, Del Mar, Calif.; (800) 808-7352, www.newmexicotours.com.

*

INDIA

Taking in a country from

top to bottom

GEt the big picture of a big country on a three-week tour of India that includes visits to Singapore and Nepal.

The Jan. 3 trip will be led by Simon George, an Indian-born physics professor at Cal State Long Beach. The trip will include the cities of Madras, Agra (site of the Taj Mahal) and Varanasi.

At the start of the tour, the group will also stop overnight in the island nation of Singapore, where it will go on a city tour. After leaving India, the group will visit Katmandu, Nepal.

Cost: $5,200 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $1,200), including round-trip airfare from LAX, accommodations, all meals, airport transfers, ground transportation, entrance fees, tour guides and lectures.

Contact: Simon George; (562) 985-4848.

*

COSTA RICA

National parks and colorful wildlife

Explore three of Costa Rica's national parks on a nine-day trip sponsored by the Santa Ana Zoo.

The Nov. 4 trip will include a visit to Arenal Volcano, a boat trip through Tortuguero National Park and an aerial tram ride through Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

Cost: $3,195 per person, double occupancy (single supplement $595), including round-trip airfare from LAX, accommodations, most meals, naturalist guides and sightseeing. The price includes a $200 contribution to the Santa Ana Zoo's conservation programs.

Contact: Ron Glazier, Santa Ana Zoo; (714) 647-6598 or e-mail rglazier@ci.santa-ana.ca.us.

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents, cruise lines or tour operators.

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